Today the Cubs took down the Reds 7-4. The bits:
- Matt Garza was modestly effective into the fifth inning when, presumably, he ran up against his pitch count. He hadn’t given up a run, but did leave two base runners who eventually scored. I say only “modestly” effective because, to that point, although Garza hadn’t given up a run, he had allowed seven hits and three walks. You know what? I take it back. That’s not modestly effective. It’s pretty crappy. At least he struck out six.
- Those base runners who eventually scored did so against new righty Shawn Camp. His line ended up fine (2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2K, 0 R), but allowing the inherited runners to score never looks good. It was just Camp’s first appearance for the Cubs, though, and he was having a good Spring (statistically, anyway) with the Mariners. I have a feeling that we’ll see Camp at some point in the Cubs’ pen, but maybe not right out of the gate. He’s on a Minor League deal, so the Cubs can send him down for a bit.
- Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo got an extended look today (given that the Cubs are making a bunch of decisions tomorrow apparently (about which, more later), could it be that Castillo is still on the fence?), with two innings of work. He gave up three hits, a balk, and a run. He struck out one. I still say the upside in keeping him is worth it, at least to start the year (unless the Phillies are willing to let the Cubs keep him for little).
- Darwin Barney continues to hit the crap out of the ball, adding another three hits today, two of which were doubles. I say: good. Keep doing it, Darwin. I want to do a 180 and become your biggest fan (as a starter, I mean – I’m already a big fan as a roster-worthy bench guy) by the end of the year. Seriously. Make it happen.
- Ditto Bryan LaHair, whose Spring average is all the way up to .309 now. Keep it hot, Bryan.
- Welington Castillo had a couple hits, including a tie-breaking homer in the 9th (Dave Sappelt’s subsequent three-run bomb was totally superfluous, score be damned). Castillo also allowed a passed ball. At this point, I think we know where each back-up catching competitor stands: Castillo offers a little more power and a better arm, Clevenger offers a better non-power bat (lefty) and a slightly better overall game behind the plate. There’s no “wrong” choice here, but I stand by Clevenger as the guy I want, with his lefty bat being the tie-breaker.
- On the other side of the ball, the Reds’ ace Mat Latos left the game with a strained calf, and is day to day. Well, that’s the official story anyway. If you want to try and convince me that Dusty didn’t straight up feast on Latos’ calf during the pre-game buffet, you can. But I ain’t buyin’ it.